In my quest to connect with Brahm and Oliver through conversation, I'm finding that they will tune into almost anything I say if I address them like people instead of as just kids. It doesn't seem to really matter what we talk about as long as they feel that they have my attention and respect. With this in mind, I'm picking up conversational threads in the most random places and running with them. So far, this technique is working.
Pomegranates, for example, are an usual theme for discussion (especially with little boys) but I try it anyway. Being my favorite fruit and owing to the fact that it's in season, we've been having them at dinner a lot lately. Last week I look into the bowl of seeds on the table and the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone comes to mind. I tell it to them and it's a hit! They have all sorts of questions: "Didn't her Mom miss her?" "Why wouldn't that bad man let her go?" "Is she gone from the earth right now?"
There's another bowl on the table tonight so I try my hand again.
"I've been to a place in Spain called Granada. Do you know what grows a lot there? Pomegranates. In fact, 'granada' is the Spanish word for 'pomegranate'"
They're tuned in almost immediately.
"Is that what grenadine syrup is made from?" Brooks wants to know, seeing a connection in the way the words are spelled.
"Yep. And do you know what people use grenadine syrup in?" I ask the boys. "If a person goes to a bar but doesn't want to order a drink with alcohol, they might ask the bartender for a 'Shirley Temple'. It's made with 7-Up, grenadine syrup, a squeeze of lime and then a cherry on top."
Brahm and Oliver start cracking up.
"What's so funny?" I want to know. After a minute I realize it's the name "7-Up". They are saying it over over, laughing all the while. Brahm is making the number seven with his hands and then pointing to the ceiling. This makes Oliver laugh even more. Suddenly I get that they have no idea what 7-Up is! True, we don't drink a lot of pop at our house but if I said "Sprite" they'd know what I meant. In an instant, I feel old so I shift the focus back to Shirley Temple (which only makes me feel older so not sure what I was thinking there). Before you know it, I'm recounting the tale of "The Little Princess" to them (which they loved — sorry, Brooks) and then sooner than we realize, it's time for bed.
Sigh. There's one pomegranate left in the fridge. Lucky them — they'll soon find out that there's a French word which is derived from the same Latin base as the beloved fruit: "grenade".